1. ADMISSIONS APPLICATION
Freshman applicants can apply using either the UW System Application or the Common Application.
Transfer students can apply using the UW System Application.
UW–Madison does not prefer one application over the other. Please choose only one application and use only that application all the way through to submission.
Please note that we do not start processing fall term applications until September 1.
Applicants will be asked to identify both a first and second choice major when completing the application for admission.
If selecting a major in the College of Engineering as your first choice major, you must select a second choice major outside of the College of Engineering. Transfer students selecting a major in the School of Business as your first choice major, you must select a second choice major outside of the School of Busniess. If we are unable to offer you admission to your first choice major, your second choice will be considered in our application review. Due to the competitive nature of some of our programs, admissions expectations may be different for students pursuing majors in business, engineering, dance, and music. We encourage you to visit our direct entry page to learn more.
2. APPLICATION FEE
The application fee is $60.00 US and is non-refundable.
Electronic payment is preferred. If you apply using the UW System Application, the fee can be paid by check or money order, drawn on a US bank and payable to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Send the check or money order to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Please include the applicant’s name with payment. Do not send cash.
Application fee waivers are available for applicants with financial hardship. Eligible student can request a fee waiver as part of their application. If the College Board or the ACT grant you a fee waiver, we will accept it.
The application fee is not required if you are transferring directly from an UW System institution within one year of enrollment as a degree seeking student.
3. COURSE AND GRADE INFORMATION
Freshmen: If you apply via the Common Application, you will need to self-report your courses and grades. If you apply via the UW System Application, you may submit unofficial transcripts from all schools attended to complete your application for review. You may also send an official transcript to meet this requirement.
If you earned your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), submit your official score report in addition to all high school or home school transcripts.
Note: official transcripts from all schools and colleges attended will be required prior to enrollment. Incorrect reporting of courses and/or grades may result in your admission offer being revoked and scholarship awards being forfeited. Official transcripts are all required to award college credit. Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school attended.
Electronic transcripts must be sent through a secure, approved document sending service. Transcripts sent through email, as an attachment, will not be accepted as official. Paper transcripts sent to our office must bear an official school seal or be printed on the school’s custom watermarked/security paper.
Students applying from outside the United States can find country-specific official transcript requirements here.
Transfer: We require course and grade information from your enrollment in any and all colleges and universities. This should include all college-level coursework completed to date, including your current term in progress, and (if applicable) college classes taken while in high school.
You must submit an official transcript from all institutions(s) attended to meet the course and grade information requirement to complete your application for admission.
We require official high school transcripts, which need to be sent to us by your school. We review your high school record to check for proof of graduation, the completion of core preparation requirements, and to learn more about your educational background. High school grades will play a more important role in the admission review for applicants who have completed fewer transferable college credits. If you earned your General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED), submit your official score report in addition to all high school or home school transcripts.
Official transcripts should be sent directly from each school attended.
Electronic transcripts must be sent through a secure document sending service. Transcripts sent through email, as an attachment, will not be accepted as official. Paper transcripts sent to our office must bear an official school seal or be printed on the school’s custom watermarked/security paper.
Students applying from outside the United States can find country-specific official transcript requirements here.
Homeschool: Homeschooled students are expected to cover required course work at a level of achievement similar to that of our freshman applicants. On a transcript, the homeschool administrator should be sure to indicate:
- what courses are completed and what is in progress,
- the grades earned for each course, and
- a brief summary of what is covered in each course.
Detailed performance evaluations or course bibliographies are helpful but are not required. To figure out a format that works best, you might find it helpful to review tips about preparing a transcript provided by homeschooltranscripts.com or the HSLDA.
Homeschool transcripts cannot be submitted by the student and must be sent by the homeschool administrator or teacher.
If homeschooling has been supplemented by formal coursework either at the secondary school or post-secondary level, official transcripts from the school(s) or college(s) are required.
4. ACT AND SAT SCORES
Freshmen: If you are applying for admission for spring 2023 or prior, including scores from either the ACT or the SAT with your application is optional, and you will not be disadvantaged in our evaluation process if you choose to not include these scores for consideration in your application. You can indicate your choice regarding including test scores at the time of application.
More information can be found by viewing the news release and our ACT/SAT Score FAQs.
If choosing to include ACT or SAT test scores with your application, you are encouraged to self-report your test scores. If you apply via the Common Application (freshmen only), you can submit your scores by self-reporting in the ‘Testing’ section with all applicable test scores, as well as test score-related questions in the UW–Madison ‘Academics’ section, or by self-reporting in the MyUW Student Center (beginning mid-September, and after your application is received and processed). If you apply via the UW System Application, you can self-report your scores using MyUW Student Center (beginning mid-September, and after your application is received and processed). You may also submit your official scores directly from the testing site.
Transfer: Scores from either the ACT or the SAT are not required of transfer applicants. However, you are welcome to provide us your scores. Your results will be considered as supplemental academic information and may help strengthen your application. Test scores can be sent directly from the testing service. Our test code is 4656 for the ACT and 1846 for the SAT. Do not send your results rush (SAT) or priority (ACT); we receive all scores electronically on a daily basis so there is not an advantage to rush or priority delivery.
Please note sending official test scores from the testing agency does have an additional costs and will add 2–4 weeks to the application completion process. Our test code is 4656 for the ACT and 1846 for the SAT. Do not send your results rush (SAT) or priority (ACT); we receive all scores electronically on a daily basis so there is not an advantage to rush or priority delivery.
If you wish to add updated score(s), you can do so by self-reporting in the MyUW Student Center.
To assure that your test score(s) are considered with your application, you must either self-report your scores or have official scores sent from the testing agency, received in our office by our deadlines.
Note: official test scores will be required prior to enrollment for those who wish to have them included in their application evaluation. Incorrect reporting of test scores may result in your admission offer being revoked and scholarship awards being forfeited.
Statement on Score Choice: Students choosing to include test scores with their application are encouraged to submit all exam scores. It can be a benefit to see your complete testing history as part of our comprehensive review, and since we will only consider your highest score (by test date), there is nothing to be gained by suppressing scores through Score Choice. However, applicants are free to use the College Board’s Score Choice option for the SAT and/or the similar option offered by ACT. Superscores are not considered in our review.
5. TOEFL, IELTS, AND DET SCORES (ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY)
Applicants whose native language is not English must submit a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test (DET) score (effective for 2021) unless English was the primary language of instruction in all four years of secondary school or a college level English composition course was successfully completed at an accredited US institution.
English proficiency exam scores can be self-reported, and you are encouraged to report these scores in the Common Application ‘Testing’ section and test score-related questions in the UW–Madison ‘Academics’ section. You may also self-report test scores through the MyUW Student Center (beginning September 1 and after your application is received and processed) if you apply via the UW System Application.
Note: Official test scores will be required prior to enrollment. Incorrect reporting of test scores may result in your admission offer being revoked.
Our TOEFL test code is 1846. TOEFL must be submitted electronically from the testing service. We do not accept the IELTS electronically. Please have a paper copy of your results sent directly from the testing agency to our office through the mail. Be sure to give additional time for this process. Duolingo scores should be sent to us electronically through the DET testing site. The DET should be sent with sub-scores.
If you feel that you qualify for a TOEFL, IELTS, or DET waiver based upon the requirements above, please submit all required transcripts to our office. Other test scores such as ACT or SAT score do not meet the requirements for a waiver. Once your transcripts are received in our office (are no longer displayed on your to-do list in your Student Center), we will determine your waiver eligibility. Waivers will not be processed prior to receipt of both the admissions application and transcripts.
6. TWO ESSAYS
As part of our holistic review, we refer to the essays you submit to understand more about you. What you choose to share gives us an idea of who you are and what you want to accomplish as part of our community. Tell us about you and your unique story to help us know you beyond your GPA and test scores. Your essays might also be used for campus program and scholarship review.
If you apply using the Common Application, you will be asked to respond to one of the freshman Common Application essays. If you apply with the UW System Application, you will need to answer the following prompt:
- This part is all about you. Tell us about something you’ve done — academically or personally — and what you’ve learned from it. Was it a success or a challenge? Did it represent a turning point in your life? How did this particular moment in your life influence you, and how will it continue to influence you as you pursue your college education?
All applicants will also need to respond to this prompt:
- Tell us why you would like to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In addition, please include why you are interested in studying the major(s) you have selected. If you selected undecided, please describe your areas of possible academic interest.
If you are applying to transfer from another UW System institution, you will only be required to submit the second essay.
Keep these tips in mind as you work on your writing:
- Develop your thoughts before you begin the writing process, and create an outline.
- The maximum word count for each essay is 650, but we recommend planning for 300-500 words.
- Do not type directly into the web form. Instead, work on your draft in word processing software.
- Allow time to develop and revisit your writing.
- Check for spelling mistakes and ask someone to proofread your final version.
- Be genuine and honest in your writing.
7. ONE REQUIRED LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION
We require you to submit one letter of recommendation written by someone who can attest to your academic ability, such as a teacher, school counselor, or faculty member. If you choose, you can also submit another letter of recommendation from an additional source, such as an employer, coach, research mentor, community leader, or clergy. Students with an interest in engineering are encouraged to obtain a letter of recommendation from a math or science teacher. Remember to have a discussion with your chosen recommender first to see if they are willing and able to provide a letter.
We encourage applicants who have been away from formal classroom teaching for an extended period to request a letter of recommendation from someone who can speak to their academic potential, such as an employer (preferably a supervisor or manager), a program or departmental trainer, or some other individual in an official instructional capacity.
Those who apply using the Common Application should request a recommendation through that system.
If you apply using the UW System Application, your recommender should select the link that best describes your situation:
Recommendations that are mailed to our office must include the applicant’s full name, birth date, and campus ID number (if known). Additionally, letters of recommendation from a school staff member may also be sent through Naviance. Please note that letters of recommendation expire after one year from the date it is written.